WASHINGTON, April 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory is the newest forensic lab in the U.S. to use STRmix™ – the sophisticated forensic software used to resolve mixed DNA profiles previously thought to be too complex to interpret.
The addition of the Massachusetts lab, which provides forensic services for the state’s criminal justice system, brings the number of agencies nationwide now using STRmix™ to 44.
That list includes federal agencies such as the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and the US Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory, state agencies like the recently added South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and even private companies such as Bode Cellmark Forensics. STRmix™ is also in various stages of installation, validation, and training in more than 60 other U.S. labs.
According to John Buckleton DSc, FRSNZ, Forensic Scientist at the New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) and one of the developers of STRmix™, rapid growth in the use of STRmix™ can be chalked up to the way in which the software has greatly improved the usability of DNA.
“Agencies using STRmix™ are reporting an uptick of interpretable DNA in gun cases, from approximately 40% to more than 70%,” Dr. Buckleton explains “As a result, evidence is available in a significantly higher number of criminal cases than ever before.”
While STRmix™ is helping labs, prosecutors, and defenders to achieve just outcomes, Dr. Buckleton points out that it is also proving to be effective in sexual assault cases.
“Labs are under increased pressure to clear their Sexual Assault Kit backlogs,” he notes, “Given the considerable resources being invested in materials and staff time to clear those backlogs, STRmix™ is producing a much better return on investment by delivering a higher rate of interpretable results.”
Dr. Buckleton developed STRmix™ in collaboration with ESR’s Jo-Anne Bright and Duncan Taylor from Forensic Science South Australia (FSSA).
To date, STRmix™ has been used successfully in numerous U.S. court cases, including 28 successful admissibility hearings. Internationally, STRmix™ has been used to interpret DNA evidence in more than 100,000 cases since 2012.
In addition to its widespread use in the U.S., STRmix™ is being used in all nine state and territory labs in Australia and New Zealand, as well as 11 forensic labs in England, Scotland, Ireland, Finland, Dubai, and Canada.
STRmix™ introduced a new version of the software, STRmix™ v2.6, in mid-2018. The new version features a completely redeveloped and refreshed interface which provides users with vastly improved usability and workflow. Version 2.6 also enables a range of contributors to be entered when performing a deconvolution, and any type of stutter to be added and configured.
For more information about STRmix™ visit www.strmix.com.
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